Looking at the bigger picture

There is some good news from the Autumn Statement, but it is worth looking at the bigger picture.

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There’s some good news. Lettings fees banned as soon as possible, National Living Wage to increase to £7.50 next April, the Personal Allowance increased to £11,500 and to £12,500 by 2020, a £1.4bn affordable housing fund mostly in London and the south east, a £2.3bn National Productivity Investment Fund allocated to local government on a competitive basis, reduced tapers for Universal Credit.

There is a bigger picture. Adherence to fundamentalist market economics took hold around 1986 and since then it has been expected of every national economy around the world. And many say it worked. Economies grew, global wealth increased.

Then the crash in 2008. But allegiances to economic orthodoxy change slowly. The so-called market economics was over laid by nationalising failing banks and quantitative easing. The rich lapped it up and the richest 1% now has as much wealth as the rest of the world combined.

Do you feel guilty? You probably should. It takes cash and assets worth £48,300 to get into the wealthiest top 10%, and £533,000 to be in the 1%. That means if you own an average house in London without a mortgage, you are one of the richest 1% in the world.

Now there is a realisation it has gone too far. Greed and gluttony for the few has brought Brexit to the UK and Trump to the US Presidency. Eyes are now on the referendum in Italy on 4th December followed by the Presidential Election in France where Marine Le Pen is showing strongly.

There is a growing recognition in the International Monetary Fund there are unwanted unintended consequences.

This Autumn Statement is a Government loosening the purse strings without changing the fundamental direction. The big picture is quite simple, over the next four years, Universal Credit will still see large sums of money taken from working families. Benefits remain frozen, the bedroom tax is still in place.

The verdict on the Autumn Budget is that there was an opportunity to reverse some of the £12bn of cuts to the welfare budget – they did not take it.

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